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Tuesday 25 July 2017

McGregor happy to dance the funky chicken if needed

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Conor McGregor face off during the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Sportsfile
Floyd Mayweather (left) and Conor McGregor face off during the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Sportsfile

When we were kids, a bunch of us went to a travelling fun fair where one of the attractions was a stall that boasted dancing chickens.

For the price of an ice cream, we got to see a couple of chickens lazily pecking at sawdust. Until the man played céilí music through a battered old loud-speaker.

As soon as the fiddles started, the chickens began squawking and buck-leppin'.

The locals thought it was a hoot until one of the lads crawled underneath and discovered a couple of wires connected from an old car battery to a large metal plate under the sawdust.

Needless to say, there was uproar.

I was reminded of those chickens on Tuesday as Conor McGregor told Floyd Mayweather Jr, "Dance for me, boy."

The minimum the Dubliner will make from his fight in Las Vegas on August 26 is believed to be around $75 million.

The purse, as it's called in boxing, will be Conor's very own lucky Euromillions ticket for around €66,000,000.

That's a garden shed-load more than he's earned for any of his UFC performances.

Happy

But by the time The Notorious gets a slice of the Pay-per-View sales and whatever sponsors wish to throw his way, his wage packet could be twice as nice.

No wonder he's happy to dance the Funky Chicken on the promotional circuit, taunting his opponent with crude insults while sporting a whistle'n'flute that spells out his mantra, "F**k you."

Don't knock it. That's McGregor's technicolour dreamcoat right there, dude.

From the days of P.T. Barnum, America has loved a freak show.

Travelling show attraction, General Tom Thumb was 3" 4" when he died at 45. Thanks to canny marketing by Barnum, he'd been mobbed wherever he appeared.

His act? "Dancing, singing and engaging in comical banter." Sound familiar?

Alligator wrestling was also big box office. Before the Jazz Age, boxing kangaroos did huge business, with hapless marsupials fitted with boxing gloves and forced to fight humans in makeshift boxing rings.

Strut

Conor McGregor (mixed martial arts) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (boxing) aren't entirely stupid. They know they have to entertain. Like kangaroos, if necessary.

So they're happy to strut around like chickens, or taunt each other like schoolboys behind the bike shed.

Unbeaten in 49 professional fights, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is widely regarded as the best boxer of all time. He grew up in poverty. His mother was a junkie.

The one positive thing his father did for Floyd Jr was to teach him the defensive style which has served him well as a pro.

Conor McGregor is using the promotional circus, which arrives in London today, to plant some seeds of doubt in Mayweather's mind.

"You can keep your gloves up," he's snarled. "I break the guard. I'm gonna bounce your head off the canvas."

Mayweather, who grew up in a New Jersey ghetto, has advisers in his camp. How else would he have been able to dismiss McGregor, saying to his face, "You're an eejit."

The script has been predictable so far. But who'll be writing it on fight night? And will it feature a money-spinning re-match?

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